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Sakura
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This is a bit ridiculous. Good thing my parents want to drop our AT&T service.

Jameson Berkow Mar 14, 2011 – 5:11 PM ET | Last Updated: Mar 15, 2011 2:46 PM ET

With its otherwise quiet northern neighbour currently in an uproar over usage-based billing (UBB) for Internet service, America is about to begin a UBB debate of its own.

AT&T, among the largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the United States, confirmed plans Sunday evening to introduce a 150GB (gigabyte) monthly download limit or “cap” on its DSL customers and a 250GB cap on its U-Verse subscribers starting May 2. The new caps will also involve overage charges of US$10 for each additional 50GB of data, or about 50 cents for every gigabyte of data consumed above the limit.

“The top 2 percent of residential subscribers uses about 20 percent of the bandwidth on our network,” the telecom giant said in a statement. “Just one of these high-traffic users can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households.”

“Only those who use the most bandwidth should pay more than those who don’t use as much,” the statement said.

Already, U.S. web users are decrying the coming caps just as Canadian web users have been doing since the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the national telecom regulator, allowed Canadian providers to implement an industry-wide UBB regime in late January.

When AT&T ran a trial run of tiered broadband offerings in 2008, user outrage was swift and AT&T quietly shelved plans to impose widespread caps, until now.

Similar to Bell Canada’s offer to exempt its Internet-based television service (called Fibe TV) from its caps, AT&T also said any data consumed over its IPTV (Internet protocol television) will not be counted towards their caps. Also similar to Canada, alternative Internet-based video providers such as Netflix Inc. stand to suffer the most from limited or metered data usage, with a typical Netflix movie streamed in high-definition using about 3.5GB of data.

The difference between the Canadian and American UBB proposals lie in the cap sizes and overage charges. AT&T’s 150GB caps and $0.50/GB overage charges compare to Bell’s 25GB caps, with overage charges ranging anywhere from $1/GB to $5/GB.

The CRTC is currently reviewing its January 25 decision, the results of which will become available in late April. Anti-UBB activists aren’t expecting much, however, as the regulator has refused to expand the scope of its review to include the wider implications of UBB on innovation; choosing instead to continue repeating the mantra shared with Bell and AT&T of “ensuring lighter users do not subsidize heavier users.”

SOURCE: http://business.financialpost.com/2011/03/14/usage-based-internet-billing-coming-to-the-united-states/



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I came here just for the sake of bitching about what's been going on in Canada... and it's already covered.

150 and 250 GB sounds pretty generous compared to what was proposed around here. Ultimately, it sounded a lot like Internet access would switch to cellphone-like plans, where you pay hgue amounts of money to get a limited metered access in return. Thanks, but no thanks. I'm using an old cellphone with no data plan as I'm not interested in paying monthly bills of over 50$; if they try to do the same with my Internet access, I'll take my money elsewhere.


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Sage
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You think this is bad, should check out what the White House is wanting to do with intellectual copyright.


Illegal Streaming will become a FELONY if they have their way.

inb4 FBI wiretaps.


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Breakman
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Ooo... This would definitely cut my time on the internet to once every two weeks or more. I probably eat through 40GB on YouTube alone in one day (especially since I'm stuck in bed sick). Yeah, I have AT&T... :/

Edited by Breakman on March 17, 2011 at 20:55:26


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40 GB on YouTube a DAY!? Please tell me that you watch them all in HD, at the very least!


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Yes, I must agree with RD. This picture sums up my reaction to these events perfectly.

Breakman
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Cossack
40 GB on YouTube a DAY!? Please tell me that you watch them all in HD, at the very least!


I watch TV shows and movies on there. Like yesterday, I was watching 10 45min shows in HD. So let's do the math.... Hmmm... Okay, maybe I kinda exaggerated a bit. It's more like 25-30GB (if HD on Youtube is about a 2.5GB download). ^^; But still...


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Quote:
Originally posted by Breakman
I watch TV shows and movies on there. Like yesterday, I was watching 10 45min shows in HD. So let's do the math.... Hmmm... Okay, maybe I kinda exaggerated a bit. It's more like 25-30GB (if HD on Youtube is about a 2.5GB download). ^^; But still...


Watching videos on YouTube (or elsewhere) counts as downloading? o.O

I'd hit that limit real fast then. >.>


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Quote:
Originally posted by Morphman
Quote:
Originally posted by Breakman
I watch TV shows and movies on there. Like yesterday, I was watching 10 45min shows in HD. So let's do the math.... Hmmm... Okay, maybe I kinda exaggerated a bit. It's more like 25-30GB (if HD on Youtube is about a 2.5GB download). ^^; But still...


Watching videos on YouTube (or elsewhere) counts as downloading? o.O

I'd hit that limit real fast then. >.>


You're still streaming the video to your machine, except, you're using Flash as a intercessor, so it's always precaching and buffering, loading into your cache so you can watch the movie, resetting the cache when you refresh the page or close the browser.

You're not seeing it, but Flash is doing all the work.


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Originally posted by Morphman
Watching videos on YouTube (or elsewhere) counts as downloading? o.O

I'd hit that limit real fast then. >.>


And it adds up FAST. I know someone who doesn't have a TV at home, so everything he watches is streamed from the Internet (either from YouTube or other sites). He and his roommate can eat through 100 GB of bandwidth a month, the biggest part of that being from online video.

That's why this capping idea is so bad for some people. If you subscribe to some service such as Netflix (the online viewing model, not the disc-sending one), this new limit could hit you hard and fast, handing you a large Internet access bill before you even know what happened.


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It screams of blatant exploitation, too--most of the population isn't computer-savvy or internet-savvy. They wouldn't even know how much bandwidth they use per day, let alone per month. And I have a feeling that AT&T knows this.

And what about the families who are internet-savvy? Of the four people who live in my household, all four of us use the internet, particularly for videos and online gaming. Luckily for us, we don't use AT&T. But if other companies decide to jump on the bandwagon...


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Aaaaaand AT&T is going to purchase T-Mobile USA.

This doesn't have a direct impact on Internet connection, but it makes AT&T grow even larger... and thus having more influence as a company. Not bad for an entity mostly composed of the parts of a former monopoly!


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It's part of AT&T's cycle. They start buying out a bunch of companies, people realize what they're doing: building up a new monopoly, and a court order shuts them down. And then a number of other companies start joining up, and suddenly it gets renamed to AT&T. And it starts all over again...


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Quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Cossack
And it adds up FAST. I know someone who doesn't have a TV at home, so everything he watches is streamed from the Internet (either from YouTube or other sites). He and his roommate can eat through 100 GB of bandwidth a month, the biggest part of that being from online video.

That's why this capping idea is so bad for some people. If you subscribe to some service such as Netflix (the online viewing model, not the disc-sending one), this new limit could hit you hard and fast, handing you a large Internet access bill before you even know what happened.


Yeah, I barely watch tv myself and mostly just watch shows online, mostly anime or sitcoms, with the occassional House. Like RD said, I have no idea how much bandwidth I use per day, though I definitely use the most out of my family. Luckily, I do not live in the USA, but I'd rather not see European companies jump the bandwagon.

Then again, we've often switched providers anyway...

Quote:
Originally posted by RisingDragon
It's part of AT&T's cycle. They start buying out a bunch of companies, people realize what they're doing: building up a new monopoly, and a court order shuts them down. And then a number of other companies start joining up, and suddenly it gets renamed to AT&T. And it starts all over again...


AT&T: the Sephiroth of telecommunications companies.


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God
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[quote]Originally posted by Dr. Cossack
Aaaaaand AT&T is going to purchase T-Mobile USA.

Its rather odd. At&T is known for having the cheapest but most horribly broken services ever.

I'm not worried. AT&T will just lose all it's customers. The only reason ANYONE even REMOTLY CONSIDERS AT&T is because they're slightly less exorbitant in pricing then all the others.

Quote:
This doesn't have a direct impact on Internet connection, but it makes AT&T grow even larger... and thus having more influence as a company. Not bad for an entity mostly composed of the parts of a former monopoly!


"Is going"? What are you taking about? They've been the same company since like 2005.

Quote:
Originally posted by Rising Dragon
And what about the families who are


They're rather unlikely to have AT&T in the first place. Because, you know, they can figure out that other services don't break every 40 minutes and that having to constantly reset the modem, computer, or service isn't a "normal" part of having the internet. They're also more intelligent then stupid people, and therefore actually capable of reading a bill or switching a service. (You'd be surprised how many people there are who only seem to be of average or slightly higher intelligence and dont seem 3rd-grade level stupid, do not know how to read a bill or interpret what they're being charged for, and think it's a huge thing that will take a month ri switch their ISP. Or even cable company.)

Breakman
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Quote:
Originally posted by God
They're also more intelligent then stupid people, and therefore actually capable of reading a bill or switching a service.


Hey, hey. That is uncalled for. In some areas, there aren't many providers and you have to go with the lesser of two evils.


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My family being in one such area, where Frontier has a monopoly on internet service and therefore can charge outrageous prices--and we can't change to a different service.


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It's easy to complain if you live in a city, where all companies are willing to do business with you. It's another thing if you happen to live anywhere somewhat away, with limited options.


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